dress to skirt revamp tutorial

i very rarely browse through the clearance section anywhere.

i used to love to do it pre-kids.

tj maxx, marshalls, ross – those were my favorite places to shop.

but now, now i can’t stand them!

maybe its the messiness that i can’t deal with when i have little time and 3 little kids.

maybe its the crammed quarters and no guarantee that i’ll find anything.

but awhile back i happened to look in the clearance section at target.

see, they’re smart and mix the clearance racks in with the regular priced items, so they tricked me.

i found this dress for $5!

i knew immediately that i would never wear it as a dress for a couple reasons: 1 – because it would be too short, and 2 – because the smocking at the top was ridiculously tight – probably why it was on clearance.

so i got it anyway and brought it home to chop up.

and then it sat in my drawer of things to revamp.

yes, i have a drawer for that stuff.

finally a few weeks ago i found time to make this dress into a skirt.

i think it took me all of 30 minutes, at the most.

i made it while the kids and i were taking a break from home school.

this is something anyone with a sewing machine could make – truly super easy!

first i held the dress at my waist in the mirror and guesstimated where i wanted to cut it.

i knew i wanted it just above my knees, but needed to allow enough room for the elastic waist.

once i decided on the length, plus a couple inches, i brought it to my cutting mat and chopped off the top.  i made sure i allowed a little extra length just in case it was too short.  you can always shorten something more, but lengthening is not so easy.

next i ironed down the top of the skirt just a bit, maybe a 1/4 inch.  i did this to make the channel that the elastic will go in.  i almost never measure, because its quicker to just eyeball it.

then i eyeballed it again using the elastic i had on hand (~1″  width i think) as a guide.  the next fold needed to allow for the elastic to fit as well as leave room for the stitching.

i ironed it again and double checked the width with the elastic.

next i stitched all around the bottom of the fold that i just made, maybe 1/4 inch up from the bottom.  i left a small opening at a seam to slide the elastic in.  i attached a large safety pin to one end of the elastic and pushed it through the channel until it came out the other end.

then i tried on the skirt and adjusted the elastic until it was comfortable,  pinned it there, then stitched it a few times with my machine.

ta da!  it only took 2 stitches!  crazy right?!  i was afraid the elastic waist would be too bunchy, but it really isn’t bad, and its very comfy.

here it is in action for a what i wore wednesday post.

do you have any old clothes that you could do a simple revamp with?

can you do it in 2 stitches or less?

i dare ya!


  1. 1

    Cute! Love those boots too, I’ve been wanting a pair of knee high boots for a while.

  2. 2

    That turned out really cute! And now you’ve got me thinking – I have a post-baby denim skirt that is really a bit big now, and hangs too long – I’m wondering if I have enough length/width to put in an elastic waistband.

  3. 3

    I read your blog daily from my lil’ home in australia and after reading this I feel it is now time to comment ….
    After 3 kiddies my worst fear is clothes shopping! I am now hooked on eBay! I am now off to buy the dresses I was looking at but did not like the straps or lack there of!
    Thankyou x.

  4. 4
    Rose D., Frenchtown, NJ says:

    Love it! I’ve got an entire drawer of dresses (pre-kiddies) that I know I will NEVER wear. I’m dragging them out on this rainy day and working some magic. Thanks! Oh, and I love the boots. :)

  5. 5

    Very cute skirt…I would never have guessed it lived a previous life! Looks great!!

  6. 6

    Talent…I don’t have that or a sewing machine! Love it!!

  7. 7

    I love the idea!!! So cute and functional :) Hmm…what dresses do I own that I could convert?

  8. 8

    So cute!!!

  9. 9

    that’s adorable! i need to keep my eyes out for “kinda sorta” cute clearance I can revamp! :)

  10. 10

    Very cute!

    The only thing I’ve {sorta} revamped is a dress I got at Ann Taylor Loft for like $5. I love the dress, but the sleeves were very…poufy. So I finally just cut the sleeves off, hemmed them, and used the fabric to make a flower. I like the dress much more now!

  11. 11

    Oh, how I wish I could sew…so amazing!

    I have those boots, too ;) Love them…I just wish the weather would cooperate so I could wear them!

  12. 12

    Love this!! I’m inspired to go through my closet to see what I can rework into something fabulous!

  13. 13

    Love this idea!!! I found your blog yesterday and I am loving it!!

  14. 14

    I did it with an XXL skirt from Target that I got for $3.00. It was way too big for me, but for $3.00, I could make it work and it was so cute. I cut out a lot of the elastic and then just sewed it back up…I think it was 1 stitch total and I love that skirt for the summer!

    Thanks for a great step-by-step!
    Happy Thursday!

  15. 15

    You are so cute! I love that skirt! You know, putting in elastic ALWAYS scares me. I dont really know why, but I always do it last and it takes me twice as long to do it than it should.. I would LOVE to try this :)

  16. 16

    You are quite the talented lady:) That is really cute Lindsey!

  17. 17

    love the re-vamp. and i totally agree with you on tj maxx & ross. i see so many ppl finding great deals there, but i just can’t handle the mess. usually when i do go, i can’t find anything so i don’t even bother anymore!

  18. 18

    OK–gotta know where your boots came from–I LOVE them! Are you willing to share?

  19. 20

    totally gonna copy!!! thanks!

  20. 21

    love! i love a good refashion! this is super cute!


  21. 22

    I did this a few times this summer. Old Navy is a great source for dresses that can be turned into other things.

    I blogged about one dress I turned into a skirt:

    And one dress I turned into a shirt:

  22. 23

    That’s adorable!

  23. 24

    Great idea! love the skirt. It looks great on you!

  24. 25

    This is fabulous!!!!

  25. 26

    Super cute! I do this too! I buy dress that are super cheap on clearance and turn them into skirts! I’ve done it twice already :) for both less than $5 each!

    Just Better Together

  26. 27

    that looks fantastic!! i’ve been meaning to go through all my older clothes to see if there was anything i could revamp – now i definitely need to!! :)

  27. 28

    Yes! Yes! Yes! This is my style of refashion! I just made a skirt out of a plus-size top that I thrifted using this same technique but haven;t gotten around to posting it yet. What so cool about yours is that as a skirt it has a completely different vibe than as a dress…It went from surfer chic to prairie chic and the after is soooo much better! Love it!


  28. 29

    One more thing, people have drawers for their someday projects? Mine are in a heap on my sewing table. Your way is far superior!

  29. 30

    So super super super cute!

  30. 31

    is there enough fabric left from the top to make into a tunic or dress for one of your girls?

  31. 32

    so amazing:) i need to revamp some things for sure. i love that all of this revamping and reworking what we currently own is not only frugal and smart, but sustainable to the environment. :)smiles, gina

  32. 33

    Wow, I love that. I will definitely have to try it. Thank you for sharing! You are really talented!

  33. 34

    If I could revamp ANYTHING I would be happy with myself…I live vicariously through you and your revamps! :)


  34. 35

    I have a lighter version of this dress that I’ve been wanting to do this with. Might have to get it started now. . . .for next summer I guess :)

  35. 36

    Hi Lindsay!
    Thanks so much for WIWW! It’s such a fun idea and I look forward to checking your blog each week for it. But now that so many people are linking up I’m finding it hard to look at them all. I think you should pick one or two to spotlight each week. It would add a fun new element to the “game” and would be a great way to make sure nobody misses the best for the week. I don’t know….just an idea.

    • 37

      hi amanda!

      i think your idea is great, but i’m like you – i just don’t have time to get to everyone’s wiww! i tend to just randomly visit a handful at a time.

  36. 38

    darling! love that. i just bought a ‘dress’ from old navy for $4. didnt care for the top of it but now i know what to do with it! thanks for the idea!

  37. 39

    I am new to sewing (at 40 years old) but I did manage to turn a pair of jeans into crops! So cool. Thanks for the elastic tutorial. Seems as easy as you’d think it would be, but I am like you, I like to wing it rather than bother with measuring, sometimes I end up with disastrous results!!

  38. 40

    That is too cute! What a neat little project. Now I’m going to have to stop by Target and see if they have that dress so I can try my hand at it :)

    P.S. What is the font on your blog? Whatever it is, I love it!

  39. 41

    I think I’ll try it tomorrow! I did my first refashion today! It was two shirts into a new dress!

    Love your stuff!


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